Gentrification and Racial Distrust in Communities: Evidence from 911 Calls

69 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2022 Last revised: 13 Aug 2023

See all articles by Uttara M Ananthakrishnan

Uttara M Ananthakrishnan

Carnegie Mellon University - Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy

Sharique Hasan

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

Anuj Kumar

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business

Date Written: January 22, 2022

Abstract

The prevalence of racial bias in policing has long concerned social scientists and policymakers. This article studies a predecessor mechanism that constitutes an important source of policing bias in American society: calls by individuals to the police to investigate "suspicious'' behaviors, often involving neighbors. We construct a novel dataset of over 39 million 911 calls across 14 US cities from 2011 to 2020. This data, obtained through the digitization initiatives of local governments, provides us with a unique opportunity to study neighborhood-level trust and social cohesion and demonstrate how changes to a neighborhood's composition lead to systematic increases in the prevalence of "unfounded'' suspicion calls to the police. Across a range of specifications, the proportion of unfounded suspicion calls increases as more non-Black residents move into neighborhoods with historically high levels of Black residents. This relationship is exacerbated in gentrifying neighborhoods and those with public spaces that enable more contact between community members. However, we also find some evidence that Black leadership and public support of Black citizens in communities mitigate the association between non-Black residents and the proportion of unfounded 911 calls. We discuss our results and implications for future research and policy.

Keywords: 911 calls, race, gentrification, mistrust, neighborhood suspicion, information systems,

JEL Classification: D63,C23,K40

Suggested Citation

Ananthakrishnan, Uttara M and Hasan, Sharique and Kumar, Anuj, Gentrification and Racial Distrust in Communities: Evidence from 911 Calls (January 22, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4014937 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4014937

Uttara M Ananthakrishnan (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy ( email )

5000 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States

Sharique Hasan

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States

Anuj Kumar

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business ( email )

337 STZ WARRINGTON COLLEGE OF BUSINESS
GAINESVILLE, FL 32611-0001
United States
3522730587 (Phone)

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